The number of ATMs in India dropped to 2,21,703 as on March 31, 2019 from 2,22,300 at the end of 2017, recording a decrease of 597 ATMs during the period, according to a report released by the Reserve Bank of India. 


India also has one of the lowest ratios of ATM cash withdrawal relative to cash in circulation, revealed the report titled "Benchmarking India's Payment Systems". 


"It is also an indicator of low efficiency in recycling cash, i.e., the cycle of withdrawing cash, making payments with it and in turn making deposits through the banking system," said the report. 

However, in terms of the number of ATMs deployed, India is next only to China, recording a strong compound annual growth rate of 14 per cent in the period between 2012 and 2017. 

The analysis, however, revealed that although India has made progress with reference to the absolute number of ATMs deployed, the rate of deployment is still relatively low when the size of the population is taken into consideration. 

"All countries in the benchmarked group have a better deployment rate. The silver lining, however, is that the availability has doubled over the six-year period between 2012 and 2017 with dependency reducing from 10,832 persons per ATM in 2012 to 5,919 persons per ATM in 2017," the study revealed. 

The report provides a comparative position of the payment system ecosystem in India relative to comparable payment systems and usage trends in other major countries